Exercise away from people to keep safe?

I have a 8 yr old son who is profoundly autistic, adhd, SPD, limited communication and verbal skills, and learning disabilities. His specialist sch is going to cont to provide support for him 2 days a week, during this time and whilst we remain well.

On the 5 days a week he doesn’t go into sch we walk our dog. This is so important for him as he needs space to run and use energy up. We have been driving to local places where I know we are unlikely to meet others. We live on a housing estate with roads and lots of people. And he cannot cope with me holding his hand to keep him safe, and becomes frustrated. He has no concept of ‘social distancing’ and would not stop away from people. If he sees small children he often pushes or hits them.

Am I justified by these new restrictions to drive somewhere away from our home to have a walk? This would be our one outing that day. We would return home straight after.

I don’t like to think that others believe we have special treatment or that we’re not following rules. I’m nervous how his beh and mental health would dramatically become negative and dangerous if we couldn’t get out everyday.

Hi Alice,

I totally 'get it" I have taught children similar to your son and my S has autism. Currently we are all allowed to exercise daily and the advice doesn’t stipulate you have to do that where you live, it sounds like you are more able to keep social distancing if away from others. However that’s just my opinion. The National autistic society do have “I have autism” cards, maybe send off for one to carry with you incase you get stopped? I would drive to the nearest open space you can access too.


My friend has told me it was announced we are no longer allowed to drive somewhere to exercise. Nightmare.


This is causing a real problem for our son.

We always drove somewhere to exercise.

I dont know how we are going to get through the next three or more months with him.

He is quite rigid in his thinking. Anxiety can leave him rooted to the spot. We need to be able to get away from people who are too ignorant and stupid to social distance

Aw gawd it’s going to be a long few months.

I have suggested things like sitting in the garden and listening to music.

I did that yesterday it was very relaxing.

I used headphones.

Getting rid of that energy is so important, they still have a duty to “make reasonable adjustments for disabled people”. All the car parks in the New Forest have now been closed because of all the holidaymakers!! We don’t want people bringing bugs I to the area!!

I have to take my son for drives , he is an adult , he will become aggressive and unmanageable at home if his routines are disrupted ,I have no choice I need to talk to someone who has the authority to help me , but whon

Pat, keep doing what he is used to and if you get stopped, you can ask for the name of the person in charge locally of enforcing the rule. Very few people understand people with special needs.

Burbush car park was still open yesterday, and busy, it’s very popular with visiting cyclists, particularly families, as the old railway line is flat and straight and not too long for the littluns. Smugglers Road car park the other side of Burley was also open yesterday.

Wilverley, Wilverley Pit and Hincheslea were all closed on the first day of closures - so everyone was parked on the road at all three of them. Yew Tree Heath and Clay Hill were both already closed as seasonal closures, but the gateways were being used for parking as usual.

I’m still going over to Holmsley Inclosure for my afternoon exercise, but I long ago perfected the art of finding quiet walks there, (I’ve even got reliable Bank Holiday routes which guarantee me solitude), I’ve not encountered anyone yet this week, although I’ve seen their cars. I’m really not sure if this is allowed, but I think it’s safer than walking the street outside my house, that is definitely busier than usual with people walking.

Edit: from the Forestry England website:-

We have closed all main car parks in the New Forest until further notice. The car parks affected are those at Bolderwood, Wilverley, Blackwater, Whitefield Moor, Anderwood, Hatchet Pond and New Forest Reptile Centre. All of our public facilities within the New Forest are also closed including public toilets, visitor cabins, and BBQ facilities. Campsites are also closed.

The New Forest is a favourite spot to nest for these birds, one of the reasons that much of the Forest is a Special Protection Area for birds. This is why each year we close a small number of car parks in areas that provide important habitats for these birds. The car parks affected from 28 February - 31 July 2020 are Crockford, Crockford Clump, Hincheslea, Clay Hill (in Burley) and Yew Tree Heath.

The following small car parks remain closed for operational reasons: Spring Bushes, Lucy Hill and Whitemoor.

Whitley Wood car park is closed to protect wildlife in the area and we hope to re-open it on 30 March 2020.

There’s a lot of car parks missing from their list.

I have to take my son for drives , he is an adult , he will become aggressive and unmanageable at home if his routines are disrupted ,I have no choice I need to talk to someone who has the authority to help me , but whon

@ bowlingbun , thank you i will try that , I’m finding negotiating this board challenging

Confused ?

Lawyers say ‘overzealous’ police forces are breaking law by chasing ramblers with drones and threatening to arrest drivers for making ‘non-essential’ journeys

  • as government insists coronavirus lockdown does NOT prohibit driving to take exercise.

Coronavirus UK: Police fine woman for spraying chalk on floor | Daily Mail Online

A nationwide post code lottery ?

If more than just the driver , how do you " Social distance " in a motor vehicle ?


Have you got an enclosed trampoline in the garden. That could help.

Tricky times for all.

I have two boys one with autism and one with a learning disability.

Older than your son though.

Yesterday my older one struggled walking on the pavement near our house. Said today it was the shock of realising we are not allowed to drive for our usual walk .

I keep having to cross the road as others are not social distancing .

However it was fairly quiet just passed three people . Social distanced them all.

I am not willing to drive anywhere in case we break down or have a car crash. This would put pressure on A & E.

I said to my partner if we crash would you want to end up in A & E right now?

And if we broke down I would have to call someone and break self isolation. I am in the vulnerable group.

We are just about managing with this.

However with your son it would be impossible to walk along the pavements.

This is something I have discussed with my other half at night in bed. My caree has open defect spina bifida and exercise is good for him as it helps us to avoid constipation woes. Yesterday we took him on a walk around town. Today he and I walked down to the local supermarket to do the weekly food shop. I have some exercise DVDs I got from a local charity shop a few weeks back.

On Monday he bounced on a trampoline. I know that you can go out if you wish to exercise. So tomorrow I will take him to a local park for a walk.

Hi Alice,
I am in the same position as you except my son is 24 years old. My son has been going to a Day Service 4 days a week, the other 3 days we are out early in the morning as he needs his space and panics if people come too close. We live in the New Forest area and have been going near Wootton enclosure, often there by 7.30am. If we aren’t there then we go to Milford beach car park, again by 7.30am. The Day Service is now closed and my son is expecting to go out every morning. We have been out until late last week, we were on the beach and a very " aggressive " lady came over to me and told me we were not allowed there ! My son goes down by the water and I sit back slightly to give him space and also to make sure if someone was to come along, they keep their distance.
Without any doubt, this lady made me feel very uncomfortable, I didn’t say anything as I was lost for words !
Since then I have been looking through lots of websites regards to learning disabilties etc and haven’t really found any information for our problem. The one thing I have found is the wording in the Governments guidance of Staying at Home… there is some wording which I think covers us, as I know if my son was kept in against his will ( he doesn’t understand he can’t go out at the moment ) he would become angry / hit out and cause harm to himself and to us .
The wording is under the reasons of why you can leave your home.

" any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person."

I have lost my confidence a bit because of this lady, so I want to be ready with the right info for the next time we venture out. Life is getting stressful in our home as my son is feeling confined !

In many areas , the locals are becoming " Touchy "

Instances reported in Cornwall , Devon , Norfolk , Suffolk , North Yorkshire , Yorkshire Dales , Peak and Lake Districts over the past week , second home owners being " Victimised " for visiting their other abode.

The new norm for many , and this is after only a few days of the enforced lockdown.

It’s a new world out there , how we adapt to it will be " Interesting " to say the very least.

A caring new world or … an I’m Alright Jack one ?